CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - After many letters and meetings, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson visited Cairo, Illinois on Tuesday, August 8.
Carson's visit came after dozens of families had to leave the area due to the closing of the McBride and Elmwood housing projects. He said his goal was see the town and the housing conditions for himself.
Many Elmwood and McBride residents came out to hear Dr. Ben Carson give a ten minute remark and then open the floor for questions.
The residents comments and questions were full of passion.
Many of the questions dealt with utility payments, economic development options and even the attitude of the HUD staff.
Dr. Carson explained that they are going to check into viable solutions like keeping open some homes that are in good conditions and checking with his staff about their interaction with the residents.
One Elmwood resident was not satisfied with Dr. Carson's visit.
"Right now we are at the point where we do less talking and more working. It's obvious the way things are going, we are not getting the support and we don't need it really," Elmwood Resident Steven Tarver said. "And that's something we have to dwell on. We have to go forward in the community and make things happen for ourselves. At the end of the day we are back to square one. or we are back in the trenches."
Many times Dr. Carson referenced the Bible for answers to some of the questions. He ended by thanking everyone and exiting with no further questions.
Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman said they have private investors and a developer out of Chicago that are talking about building in Cairo this year.
According to the Cairo Public Schools superintendent, Andrea Everes, the meeting was not open to the public. In order to attend the meeting, residents were encouraged to bring identification stating they lived at the Elmwood or McBride complexes.
"I just hope he comes here and is very cognizant of the importance of who this impacts and not what you see but who resides here, because the who is why I come to work every day you know, I'm trying to make an impact on the lives of 500 children," Everes said.